Brad Friedel warns San Francisco 49ers about football 'religion' at Leeds United amid takeover talks
Brad Friedel hopes to see the San Francisco 49ers take over Leeds United, but admits they need to be cautious about how they run the club.
The 49ers Enterprises already own a stake in Leeds United, but a deal is in place for them to complete a £400million takeover within the next two years. [The Athletic]
But American ownership in the Premier League has come under fire in recent years, especially after the attempted launch of the European Super League, spearheaded partly by American-owned Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Leeds could well be the next top-flight team to adopt American ownership, but former United States international Friedel has issued a warning to the 49ers about how to run Leeds.
“I think the influx of money is good for the Premier League,” Friedel told FBS, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“I like the fact that it’s American owners because it brings even more notoriety over to the US and we’re still a growing league and a growing country in football.
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“I hope the owners purchase the clubs with the knowledge of how important these clubs are to the fans and how much of a religion football is over there because it is different from American sports. If they don’t know it is going in, they quickly realize that after the first month or so.”
Transparency and commitment
If the 49ers do complete the takeover of Leeds United, fans at Elland road would happily give them a chance provided that they stay transparent with supporters.
Communication is key to running a football club in the modern day. Fans demand to be involved, or at least acknowledged, in decisions.
The Super League drama erupted as fans were cut out of the equation and not considered at all in the decision-making. If the 49ers are to buck the trend and avoid the reputation that is quickly being attached to American owners, then they need to work alongside Leeds fans.
So far, the 49ers do seem to have Leeds’ best interests at heart, and they’ve used their NFL connections to bond fans from America and Yorkshire through fan events. [Yorkshire Evening Post].
Hopefully, during their time as investors, the 49ers Enterprises have learned what Leeds are about and what it means to follow the Whites. It will serve them well if they do decide to take full control.
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